On 23rd November, 2022 the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Moscow, the Russian Federation, held a reception in honour of Dr. Bashir Obasekola and Mr. Rex Essenowo, both of whom were re-elected into the positions of President and Financial Secretary of NIDO-Europe respectively.
The event was attended by Executive Members of the Organization, the President of the Nigerian Community in Russia (NCR), Dr. Maurice Okorie as well as Elders of the Community.
H.E. Prof. Abdullahi Shehu, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Russian Federation with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Belarus and Sectional Heads of the Nigerian Embassy were also in attendance.
In his remarks, Ambassador Shehu congratulated the two officials on their re-election and noted that it was a testament of their hard work, diligence and commitment to their ineluctable responsibilities as Executive Members of NIDO-Europe.
Referring to section 24 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which enjoins ‘each individual to make positive and useful contributions to the community in which he/she lives’, Ambassador Shehu stated that it was imperative that Nigerians continually seek to add value to themselves and their communities within and outside Nigeria.
He recalled the establishment of NIDO two decades ago under the Administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, the aim of which was to harness and consolidate the potentials of Nigerians in Diaspora and to utilise their human capital and material resources towards the overall socio-economic, cultural and political development of Nigeria.
To this end, Ambassador Shehu stated that the Embassy of Nigeria in Moscow, in line with its mandate to promote citizen’s diplomacy will continue to work with the leadership of NIDO-Europe and NIDO-Russia to ensure that Nigerians in Russia can maximize their potentials and add value to both the Russian Federation and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Additionally, Ambassador Shehu noted that there were areas that NIDO-Europe leadership could improve on such as the empowerment and acquisition of relevant skills of Nigerians in the diaspora, which in turn would lead to a higher remittance of money back home.
Also, he noted that there was need to fully exploit the area of technology transfer between Nigerians in the diaspora and Nigerians back home in the area of ICT and agro-technologies to improve the Nigerian economy.
Concluding, he congratulated the leadership of NIDO-Europe, a majority of whom reside in Russia, on steering the organization during the COVID-19 pandemic and for not being discouraged in face of the current geopolitical tensions which has engendered numerous sanctions on the Russian Federation.
He apprised that he had no reason to doubt that the trust and confidence which led members to vote for Dr. Obasekola and Mr. Essenowo would be paid back with tangible results.
Reacting, the reelected NIDO-Europe officials expressed appreciation to the Embassy of Nigeria and Ambassador Shehu for the unending support that they have received throughout their tenure and assured of their re-commitment towards achieving their mandate.
On November 22, 2022, H.E. Ambassador Abdullahi SHEHU met with Prof. Grigory Roitberg, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Honored Doctor of the Russian Federation, President of JSC “Medicine”.
Ambassador Shehu got acquainted with the work of the clinic JSC “Medicine” (Clinic of Academician Roitberg) during an introductory tour of facilities of the clinic, which was specially prepared for Mr. Ambassador.
The clinic ‘Medicina” which was founded in 1990 is the first clinic in Russia accredited according to international JCI standards and now the best private clinic in Moscow.
During the meeting, possible options for cooperation in the field of medicine, medical research, training for Nigerian specialists, etc.
The Ambassador stressed the need for Russian entrepreneurs also in the field of medicine to enter the Nigerian market to develop a practical roadmap which will guide their activities in the country.
This is to strengthen cooperation between Nigeria and Russia.
Agreements were reached on the exchange of proposals for further specific cooperation, which could be useful for both countries.
Yobe State government has approved the construction of nine roads covering 74.5km.
Alhaji Abdullahi Shehu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, stated in Damaturu on Friday that the ministry already published tenders for bidding for the projects.
“The ministry, therefore, invites all experienced and competent with relevant experience to submit Technical and Financial bids for the projects,’’ he stated.
“The projects are 22.5km asphalt road from Fika to Maluri, 18km asphalt road from Bukarti to Toshia, 13km asphalt road from Jajimaji to Karasuwa and 4km asphalt road from Nguru Highway to Karasuwa Galu. “Others are the construction of 5Km asphalt road with 10km concrete drains in Damaturu, 3km asphalt road with 6km concrete drains in Potiskum and 3km asphalt road with 6km concrete drains in Nguru.
“Similarly, government will construct 3km asphalt road with 6km concrete drains in Gashua, and 3km asphalt road with 6km concrete drains in Geidam,’’ Shehu stated.
The permanent secretary added that only competent contractors with the requisite qualifications as certified by the state’s Bureau for Public Procurement would be considered for the jobs.
He expressed the determination of the Gov. Mai-Mala Buni administration to open up more communities with good roads to enhance socio-economic development of the state and its people.
HE Professor Abdullahi SHEHU met with his counterpart HE Maria Madalena Lobo Carvalho Fischer, Ambassador of Portugal, who paid a courtesy visit on Thursday, October 27, 2022 at the Embassy of Nigeria in Moscow.
Ambassadors SHEHU and FISCHER confirmed the cordial relations that exist between Nigeria and Portugal and expressed their readiness for further cooperation in areas of mutual interest to both countries and agreed to work to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation at the international level.
Prof. Abdullahi Shehu, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Russian Federation, have commended the attitude of Nigerians living in Russia, describing them as law abiding citizens and contributors to the nation’s economy.
Shehu made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Moscow on Monday, adding that the Nigerian community are living peacefully across the Federation.
“Though, there are some bad eggs in the basket, but majority of Nigerians in Moscow have stayed out of trouble and are working very hard, which in turn contribute to the economy and development of the country.
“The Nigerian community here have been leaving very peacefully and they have supported the Embassy and vice versa.
“Majority of our citizens are law abiding and most of them that are resident here are people who schooled here, hence know their culture and tradition, both Russians and Nigerians have married each other.
“They are living peacefully and have also contributed to the development and economy of both countries, and as well strengthening the bond of relations between the two countries.
“So, to that extent, I can tell you that we do not have much problems with Nigerians living in Russia.
“Of course, you will have some few bad eggs, but it has not been dramatic since I assumed duty here.
They have rather being commended for being law abiding.
“As a diplomat, I am here to look after our citizens.
So for now, I can say we are living peacefully,” Shehu said.
The Nigeria Ambassador said that the Embassy make constant engagements with Nigerian nationals in the country and support them where necessary.
“We are working also closely with Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) Russia.
The essence of NIDO was to encourage professionals who have made it overseas to invest in Nigeria.
“We are strengthening that but of course, you know that the current situation has posed a lot of challenges with respect to logistics, value chains with respect to so many things.
“And therefore, whatever we intend doing has been slowed down as a result of the current political situation,” Shehu said.
The ambassador disclosed that it is interesting to note that Nigerians in Russia have great interest in what happens in Nigeria and always want to be part of it.
“You know that we are having elections next year and therefore they are interested in knowing what also happens in Nigeria.
“So, we are here to provide them with the necessary and accurate information regarding the democratic process, how it is moving very well in Nigeria including issues of humanitarian support to displaced persons as well as issues of human rights,” he said.
NAN reports that there are about 30,000 Nigerians officially registered by the Nigerian Embassy living in Russia.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Mr Abdullahi Shehu, has pledged Nigeria’s commitment to resuscitating trade relations between Nigeria and Russia.
Shehu made the announcement in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Moscow, saying that he was ensuring that Nigeria exported more goods to Russia.
He said that one of his priorities since assuming office as Nigeria’s top envoy to Russia was engaging with businesses and investors in Russia, to facilitate and boost trade relations between Russia and Nigeria.
Shehu lamented what he described as the low volume of trade between Nigeria and Russia, saying that trade plunged further between the two countries, following the outbreak of coronavirus in 2020. The envoy said that to address the low trade challenge, he had to consider areas of the Nigerian economy to focus on to ensure balance of trade and increase export from Nigeria to Russia.
“We have had robust trade relations with Russia.
At a time, our volume of trade was with the Russian Federation was highest, especially when the trading was more in the area of arms sales to Nigeria.
“Not long ago, some military hardware were purchased from Russia and the volume of trade became relatively high.
“On their part, Russia exported manufactured and industrial products to Nigeria.
On our part, our comparative advantage is to export unprocessed commodities to Russia.
“But we have to make these commodities to be competitive in the international market and with other options that the Russian market is looking up to from us to export to Russia.
“This is what we are building on but as it is now, the volume of trade is relatively low and compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When I assumed duty here last year, my intention was that after the coronavirus pandemic, we needed to increase the volume of trade.
Shehu said that he had started making contacts with relevant private sector organisations, including Russian Chambers of Commerce so that Nigeria could identify areas of comparative advantage, to boost its trade with Russia.
“But unfortunately, with the current crisis in Ukraine every attention is focused on the crisis and the development has affected trade between Russia and Nigeria.
“You know that Nigeria use to import a lot of fertilizers and grains from Russia and Ukraine and we hope that this situation will soon come to an end so that we can continue our economic relations with Russia.
On bilateral relations between Nigeria and Russia, Shehu said that both countries had sustained a long standing relationship, dating back to the Soviet Union era.
He said that Nigeria would never forget the support it received from Russia during the Nigerian civil war.
“We have had a warm and cordial relationship with the Russian Federation, beginning with the Soviet Union in the 60s when we established bilateral relations after Nigeria’s independence.
“We have had instances where the Russian Federation and the Soviet Union before it, supported Nigeria politically and militarily to resolve our civil war situation in the 60s.
“Immediately after that, relations between Nigeria and the Soviet Union proceeded on the economic platform, which led to an agreement to build the first and most integrated steel complex in Africa, the Ajaokuta Steel Company.
‘The complex was completed at about 90 per cent in 1983 when the Russians left but unfortunately that company still remains moribund till today.
“So, in that regard, we can say that we started well but it seems as if we have not sustained the momentum,” the ambassador stated.
Asked if Russia would support in Nigeria’s current fight against insecurity, Shehu said that “Russia holds strongly to its policy of non-interference but that it will be willing to assist Nigeria on Nigeria’s request.
“Russia’s policy is that of non-interference.
Let me take you back to the colonial era: “When other countries were scrambling for influence in Africa, Russia, then the Soviet Union said that it was not an imperialist power and, therefore, it did not colonise any country in Africa.
“Their position is that they will not interfere in your domestic affairs unless you invite them to come.
“At the time they assisted Nigeria during the civil war, it was Nigeria that requested for assistance and they provided the assistance.
Shehu said: “now, we are facing a problem and if you have not requested them formally to come, how do you expect them to come.
“They cannot just come into our country like that and this is what we are doing diplomatically to engage with them to discuss the possibilities.
“So, on arrival here last year, we negotiated a military technical cooperation agreement with them and we signed the agreement last year and the content of the agreement is there for both parties to implement.
“So, Nigeria should see what it has offered in the agreement and determine what they need from Russia.
“I am here to promote it and discuss it,” said Shehu.
Prof. Abdullahi Shehu, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Russian Federation, has said that the Federal Government is exploring ways to resuscitate one of Nigeria’s largest assets, the Ajaokuta Steel Company, with potential Russian investors.
Shehu made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Moscow, stating that Russia has always been very good technical partners of Nigeria.
Shehu said that resuscitating Ajaokuta steel company was one of the agendas of discussion between Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, and Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, when they met during the First Africa-Russia Summit in Sochi, Russia, in 2019. He said that although the Russian Company, under the then Soviet Union, built the Steel plant to over 90 per cent completion before they left in 1983, the Federal government has strategies in place on how the company would be revived.
Shehu, however, noted that it would be wiser to engage the company that had an understanding of the setting up of the Steel plant to resuscitate it.
“The Nigeria of our dream is our choice to be made by Nigerians themselves so there is nothing sacrosanct that it must be the Russians to construct or finish Ajaokuta.
“But it is important that you bring back the people who built something, who know the history, who have the in and out knowledge about it, who have the template to do something for you that is sustainable but that also has to be decided by Nigeria, not by another person.
“So during the Africa-Russian Summit that was held in Sochi here in Russia, President Buhari met with President Putin and they discussed the possibility of resuscitating the Ajaokuta steel.
“Now, this responsibility lies with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
“The company that constructed Ajaokuta was a Soviet Company at that time, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, of course the Company is still here in Russia, it is called Tyazpromoexport.
“So discussion started with Tyazpromoexport, and there was the need for a tripartite agreement between Nigeria, Tyazpromoexport and the Afro-Exim bank.
That started but again, we are still at the level of discussion until now.
“Until the Nigerian government says come and do this, the company cannot just come on its own.
” When asked on the alleged privatisation of the Ajaokuta Steel Company by the Federal Government, Shehu said that the government knows the best policies to put in place to manage all its national assets.
“I heard recently that there was a discussion by government to privatise the company or to do an assessment or something like that, I do not know.
“But as at when I came last year, there was a proposal for the Russian Company to go and audit the company, to do an assessment to determine the status before giving the cost implication for resuscitating the company.
“I think government has its own strategies, maybe they are going to leave it open for other companies to bid, that I do not know,” Shehu added.
NAN reports that as Nigeria looks towards diversifying its economy and moving from an oil-reliant nation, the Federal government has been looking at revamping other sectors of the economy.
HE Professor Abdullahi SHEHU met with his counterpart HE Krzysztof Krajewski, the Ambassador of Poland, who paid a courtesy visit on Thursday 13 October 2022 at the Nigerian Embassy in Moscow.
Ambassadors SHEHU and KRAJEWSKI confirmed the cordial relations that exist between Nigeria and Poland and expressed their readiness for further cooperation in areas of mutual interest to both countries and agreed to work to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation at the international level.
A Nigerian solutions and innovations company, iStrategic Transparent Solutions Ltd, has signed a working agreement with a major Russian technology exporter, Russian Software Trade House, RSTH, for the collaborative working deployment of security and crime prevention solutions.
The two companies will work on the development of computer software in the areas of security, cybercime and other related services for use by public and private institutions in Nigeria and other West African countries.
This was contained in a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, signed on behalf of the two companies by Habibu Adamu-Aliyu, CEO of iStrategic Solutions, and Pavel Maximenko, president of RSTH.
The technologies to be developed by both entities, according to the recently signed memorandum of understanding, will focus on the "sole purpose of protecting, preventing and deterring the activities of criminals, insurgents and bandits."
The innovative solutions, they said, will also help in "providing a platform to facilitate governance and government service delivery to the people of Nigeria, the West African region and beyond." Other areas to be addressed by the solution-based technology infrastructure would include the detection of corruption, financial crimes, money laundering, fraud, illicit financial flows and other financial crimes, digitization of government services, provision of security equipment, intelligence gathering, provision central services database for policies, training, among others.
RSTH's partner portfolio includes Kaspersky Lab, MyOffice, eXpress, AstraLinux, ALTLinux, Infowatwatch, and Security Code. Speaking at the signing ceremony, the President of Independence Digital said that “Russia considers it its duty to spread the achievements of the Soviet school of mathematics and, by extension, Russian IT solutions, to the countries with which it has historically had and still has friendly relations. with".
Mr. Adamu-Aliyu said the firm was founded by some seasoned former law enforcement officers and seasoned attorneys with strong backgrounds and vast experience in complex financial crime investigations, financial intelligence analysis, and forensic accounting.
“Our experts are seasoned investigators, intelligence analysts, certified fraud examiners, certified anti-money laundering specialists, accredited anti-fraud and corruption specialists, anti-terrorist financing specialists, ICT specialists, prosecutors and arbitrators. experienced with decades of experience in security software solutions. investigation, analysis, prosecution, tracking and recovery of financial crime assets, etc. "
Mr. Aliyu appreciated the role played by the Nigerian Embassy in Russia under the leadership of the Ambassador, Prof. Abdullahi Shehu and the staff of the Department of Economic Affairs in his firm's interaction with its Russian partner,
He also thanked the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, for the warm welcome given to the RSH team and for informing the delegation about the high potential of the Nigerian IT industry.
President Vladmir Putin of Russia has expressed great optimism about Nigeria's support for hosting the 2022 edition of Russia's African Summit.
Putin, who revealed this while receiving the credential letter from Nigerian ambassador Professor Abdullahi Shehu, recalled his meeting with President Buhari in Sochi, noting that they had agreed to partner on various borders.
A statement issued by the Embassy in Russia on Thursday said the Nigerian envoy presented his credential along with other recently deployed ambassadors from other nations in a small ceremony.
Citing the Russian president, the statement added that Putin underscored the point that his country was open to a mutually beneficial partnership with all countries without exception.
He stated that Russia was ready for multifaceted interfaces for mutual interests with countries, adding that his country was willing to make its COVID-19 vaccines available to any country that is interested.
With specific reference to Nigeria, he noted that the relationship between the two countries was cordial and noted that Russia was ready to deepen its friendship with Nigeria.
He expressed his hope that the Nigerian leadership will support the Russian initiative to hold the next meeting of the leaders of Russia and the African states in 2022.
President Putin assured "a very promising expansion of the substantive dialogue on current issues related to maintaining stability in world hydrocarbon markets, the fight against terrorism and the fight against religious extremism."
Speaking after presenting the letters, Amb. Shehu stated that he was satisfied with the development of friendly relations between the two countries.
He stressed the need for the cooperation of the authorities of his host country to be successful in his assignment, adding that the letter sent was also intended for the revocation of his predecessor.
It should be recalled that after submitting copies of the Letters of Credence to the host Deputy Foreign Minister on July 15, the Nigerian envoy has initiated official engagements in the Russian Federation.
The envoy said that the presentation of the credentials marks the formal beginning of his tour of duty in the Russian Federation.